Mental Math (Printable Puzzles)

Mental math. It causes so many students anxiety, but it’s a critical skill to be able to do more complex math. I’ve seen ideas similar to this, but they seem to use more prep (like writing things on craft sticks), so I’ve made my own. If you want each student to complete this puzzle, I recommend giving this page to each student, having them cut out the strips and glue them on a piece of paper in the right order. If you only want one set for your classroom, be sure to print it on card stock and then laminate the strips so they last longer!

Mental Math A Sticker

Mental Math Puzzle A – Answer Key
Mental Math Puzzle A

Mental Math B Sticker

Mental Math Puzzle B – Answer Key
Mental Math Puzzle B

Mental Math C Sticker

Mental Math Puzzle C – Answer Key
Mental Math Puzzle C

Expanded Number Form Game

Expanded form battle STICKER

Since the Common Core requires students to know various ways to write the same number, I made another practice page. This one is for 2 students to play and deals with writing expanded forms of a number written in standard form. For example, if the page says “245,” the student should write “200 + 40 + 5.” Click here for the free printable PDFs:

Expanded form battle 2
Expanded form battle 1

Number Forms Battle (for Kids)

Number forms battle STICKER

One of the standards on the new Common Core is that students will be able to write numbers in various forms. One of these forms is to write out a number in word form. For example, the number 164 is “one hundred sixty four.” Here’s a game/activity for two students to do. They must try to get 4 squares in a row by writing the word form of the number printed in the square. Enjoy!

Click here for the free PDF: Number forms battle

Genius Teaching Tips!

no name tags

Desk name tags drive me nuts. So when I saw this idea (source) and just HAD to share it with you! Use an oil based Sharpie Paint Pen (available at craft and office supply stores) to write on the desk. It stays on just like a permanent marker, but you can see it better. Then at the end of the year when you’re ready to take it off, color over it with a whiteboard marker and it wipes off with a tissue! This same idea of erasing permanent marker with whiteboard markers also works on whiteboards, laminated posters, anchor charts, etc.

I’ve been focusing on multiplication facts with my kids lately, so, when I saw this idea I about fell over. (Yes, I’m always impressed by the creativity and pure genius I see in other educators!)!  Kids shake the egg carton (above), and then multiply whatever numbers the chips land on. This can easily be switched to addition for younger kids. I love this idea and I’m excited to try it! (source)

This next genius idea (source) helps kids practice writing their letters the right size. It really helps younger students see what space should be used for lower case vs. upper case letters. This would be an awesome activity for kindergarten or first grade, even if you only did it once. You can buy pre-highlighted paper or just make your own using a highlighter. Making a bunch of these pages yourself is totally doable, but I recommend putting on a movie while you do it! 😉

Sit Down! (Skip Counting Group Game)

Sit down sicker

“Sit Down!” is another all purpose game.  Kids stand in a big circle.  One student is “it” in the middle with a pointer (or just his finger).  “It” gets to decide what number we start counting on to count by 10s.  He might pick 7.  So “It” starts pointing at one child at a time as the whole class counts by tens starting at 7.  So we count 7, 17 27, 37, 47, 57, 67, 77, 87, 97 and if you are the student pointed to when it is over 100, you “SIT DOWN”.  The whole class says “SIT DOWN” and then the game continues, starting with 7, 17 and so on until you again reach 100 and SIT DOWN.  When a student sits down, they just sit in their place in the circle and they continue to help the class count.  You do this until the whole class is sitting with just one per son standing.  Then the last one down is “It” and you start again.  “It” picks a new number to start with and you keep going.  This game could be down with numerous concepts (like saying the alphabet, state names, etc.), or skip counting by any number (not just 10). Kids especially like it if teacher plays and has to sit down too.

Fly Swatter Game (Sight Words/Spelling Words)

Fly Swatter game sticker

This is one of my favorite games.  This works for reading, math or anything you can write on a card with an answer (great for spelling words, sight words, letter sounds, math facts, states/capitals, etc).

The pictures are of our spelling words for the week.  Kids get in groups of three or four.  One student does not have a fly swatter, while the others each have one.  The student without a fly swatter is the reader.  Spread the words (or math fact cards, or whatever) on the ground.  The reader  reads any word.  The other kids try to be the first to swat the word.  Whoever swats the word first keeps the word.  After the words are gone, the fly swatters get passed to the left.  If you don’t have the fly swatter, you become the reader.  Be sure to set up rules before the game that if someone intentionally swats another student with the fly swatter they sit out a round, or whatever your class rule would be.  For a whole class experience put the words on the board and give each team one fly swatter. Kids love this game!

My friend over at Cultivating Questioners had this to say about the fly swatter game: “I divide my whiteboard into two sections and write words or numbers on the board randomly. I then divide the students into two teams. I have one person from each team step forward with the fly swatter in hand. I then call out a problem or word and the students run to the front of the room and slap the correct answer in their team’s section. They love it!”

Golfing Review Game

I recently saw this picture on Pinterest. I couldn’t follow the link very far, because I wasn’t a member of, but I was inspired. Here’s my idea:

Set up: Make a box like this, with varying sized holes in the front. Smaller holes are worth more points. Then set it up in your classroom, with masking tape line on the ground, denoting where students should stand before they putt.

Game play: Group students for the review. Ask a review question, and have each team write down their answer. At the same time, have all groups reveal their answer. Any team who gets the answer right, gets to send 1 person to putt once to try to earn points. At the end of the game, the team with the most points wins!

I’ve tried numerous games like this with my 6h graders and they loved them! It disguised reviewing for the end of the year tests so the kids had a blast and we got through tons of math and science review questions!

Dice Games: Math Turtles Collection

I’m a huge fan of games. They disguise potentially unpleasant practice! Here’s my collection of math turtles to help your kids practice basic math skills (including simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). Happy spring!

Click here for the 4 printable PDFs: Turtle Dice Games

Addition dice game- turtle Dice Game- add sub 2 dice turtle 1 dice game- mult div 2 dice turtle multiplication dice game- turtle

Don’t forget about the Fancy Turtles editions!